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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
9 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
8 / 0
Average Mileage:
52,009 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2005 Kia Spectra seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2005 Kia Spectra Owner Comments

problem #17

Jun 142015


  • 92,000 miles


Another car cut in front of me causing the accident. I was driving, my husband was in the passenger seat. At the time of impact, the passenger side airbag deployed as it should with no problem but mine didn't. there was approximately 3-5 seconds late, then exploded sending hot shrapnel that injured me in several places on my face, chest, shoulders, stomach and arms causing cuts, burns, scrapes and bruises that my husband took pictures of after the accident. It was extremely tramatic & painful. I am still not completely healed.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #16

Feb 102015


  • 71,000 miles
My air bag is off, I went to Kia and had it replace they said that I have to replace my car seat. My car seat is okay, what I was complaining why my air bag is off?

- Stockton, CA, USA

problem #15

Apr 192015

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
Vehicle rear ended another vehicle. Airbags didn't deploy as they should have. My son received a concussion as a result (he was wearing his seatbelt). Kia has indicated that airbags would not deploy. Please help.

- Ovalo, TX, USA

problem #14

Sep 122011


  • 110,000 miles


While stopped on a small hill in traffic, I was rearended by a Ford truck who was going about 35mph. My airbags did not deploy. I was taken to the hospital for injuries to my knees and my neck. I see there are many many many complaints regarding the deployment of airbags. There definitely is a major problem and a recall should be ordered. This is a serious problem which could result in death. Also many times while driving my speedometer will go to zero while driving or jump to 100+, in addition the RPM gauge will do the same. This too is also mentioned many times clearly there is some manufacturer defect. I am the only owner of the vehicle.

- Mashpee, MA, USA

problem #13

Jan 012013


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Kia Spectra. The contact stated that the air bag warning light was illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosed, who stated that the passenger seat sensor and seat would need to be replaced. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign number: 05V431000 (air bags) but was advised by the manufacturer that the vehicle was manufactured one month after the affected VIN range of the recall campaign. The contact was concerned because the vehicle could not pass the state inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000. The current vehicle mileage was 96,921.

- Norfolk , VA, USA

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problem #12

Jan 232012


  • 45,593 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Kia Spectra. The contact stated that the driver's side air bag light illuminated upon starting the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the sensor within the seat failed. The contact was also informed that the air bag would not deploy in the event of a crash. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 45,593.

- Pompano Beach, FL, USA

problem #11

Aug 112011

Spectra 4-cyl

  • 133,000 miles


I recently have been in an accident where my airbags did not deploy. And I was a little concerned that they didn't so I did some research and there has been a recall on my airbag system. I was wondering why I was not contacted about this so I could take my car in for service.

- Olalla, WA, USA

problem #10

Mar 252011


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Kia Spectra. While driving approximately 5 mph, the vehicle was involved in a side impact crash in which only the frontal driver side air bag deployed. The contact also stated that the seat belt did remain secure during the crash. A police report was filed and two injuries were reported. The contact was transported to the hospital via ambulance to treat serious injuries and the driver of the second vehicle also suffered injuries. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to an independent repair shop. The cause of the air bag and seat belt failure was not determined. The failure and current mileage was 130,000.

- Mount Sterling, KY, USA

problem #9

Sep 172010


  • miles
Airbags did not deploy during frontend collision! my wife's head was slammed against the side window. Hospital to be visited soon. (this was about an hour ago)

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #8

May 222010


  • 49,500 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Kia Spectra. The contact stated that the air bag light intermittently illuminated when she sat in the passenger seat. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed there was nothing they could do to the vehicle and they were going to send her a diagram instructing her how to properly sit in the seat. The contact was also instructed to gain weight in order for the air bag light to function properly. The vehicle was not repaired and the failure continues to recur intermittently. The failure mileage was 49,500 and the current mileage was 57,000. Updated 08/05/10.

- Ormond Beach, FL, USA

problem #7

May 132009


  • 25,000 miles


Kia automobiles places the airbag wiring and circuits inside their seat cushions without proper insulation to safeguard against electrical "shorts" and/or fires. For a while now, Kia owners like myself have experienced electrical shorts for the airbag(s), there is a manufacturer defect that improperly insulates the wiring and circuitry for the airbags that is stored within the seat cushion. Even should a minor beverage spill occur on the cushion, or the occasional spill that happens to all drivers/passengers from time to time, Kia tells us that we are responsible for causing the airbag failure by virtue of the spill. Should we get injured in an's our own fault...not Kia's. I say that Kia.....not the consumer, ,,is responsible for improperly insulating their wiring and circuits and placing those wires and circuits in the most illogical place without proper insulation. Had Kia taken the time, effort and expense to engineer a better vehicle, airbag functions would certainly not be suspect. I say...recall the Kia to better insulate the airbag wiring that is inside the seat cushion...what do you think" should a soda or water spill on a seat cushion jeopardize lives"

- Port Richey, FL, USA

problem #6

Mar 022007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,358 miles
Electrical problems, stalling, air bag light and even car shut off on the freeway. After only two weeks the car started with electrical problems; the right head lamp kept burning, the car was at the shop for two weeks for repair. On 5/24/06 the car was in the shop again for electric problems with the air bag light, there was already a recall on this problem and the repair was done to it. On 08/15/06 the car was taken in for multiple electrical and engine problems, the car had previously stopped in the middle of the freeway, had a stalling problem, the radio would scan back and forward for a station by it-self when the A/C or the traffic light came to use, also the battery went dead. The car was at the shop for two days and many repairs were performed, unfortunately this time the dealer did not provide a written repair description, (but I have a copy of the complaint invoice). Now, 03/02/2007 and with 27700 miles the car started to produce all the above problems and I will take the car for a 4th repair on Monday 03/05/2007. I already called Kia's consumer service 800-333-4542 to request a lemon exchange or refund.

- Canoga Park, CA, USA

problem #5

Nov 092006

Spectra 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,300 miles
: the contact stated while driving 50 mph, the vehicle hydroplaned and crashed into a wall four times smashing all four corners of the vehicle. All six air bags failed to deploy. There were no injuries to any occupants.

- San Dimas, CA, USA

problem #4

Mar 112006


  • Manual transmission
  • miles
We own a Kia Spectra 05, we had trouble with the passenger air bag sensor light not going out when there was a passenger in the seat. We brought in the recall for this problem and it as "reflashed". but the problem still continued. We were in an accident in March where our car was broadsided by an SUV at the speed of at least 40 mph. My wife was stuck in the passenger seat of the car and the air bags did not deploy at all. The fire department had to extract her with the jaws of life and taken to the hospital by ambulance. The fire chief was very upset that the air bags did not deploy. We contacted Kia national Consumer Affairs to look into why the air bags did not deploy. We sent pictures of the car and a police report. Their response was very poor. It stated that from the evidence, we were hit behind the front wheel well and in front of the door handle.( the front of a SUV is larger than the area they claim was damaged.) so the B pillar sensors were not activated. The garage that towed our vehicle clearly states that the B pillar was smashed. The insurance company totaled our car. Damage was in excess of $10,000. My wife's hip was dislocated and she was bruised on the entire right side of her body. Our concerns about the air bags have been denied twice by Kia. They say that there is no proof that the sensor worked or did not work.

- Cloquet, MN, USA

problem #3

Feb 242006

Spectra 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving 30 mph the contact rear ended another vehicle. The airbags did not deploy, the seat belt did not restrain the occupant. Minor injuries were sustained. The vehicle was towed to a salvage yard were it was deemed totaled. The manufacturer has been alerted.

- Jackson, MO, USA

problem #2

Sep 072005

Spectra 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
I purchased a 2005 Kia Spectra ex on July 11, 2005 and have also been experiencing issues with my "advanced" passenger air bag system. As other posters have stated, the light has come on while driving when a person of proper stature is in the seat and stays off for varying amounts of time. I live in Massachusetts thankfully we have the lemon law here that allows you some protection for defects of this nature. Tomorrow my car goes in for the final repair attempt and if it is not fixed, it will be classified as lemon, allowing me a refund or replacement vehicle. My vehicle has been in for this problem 4 times and still does not work properly. The last time it was in, the system was re-programmed in accordance with a recall that was issued. This reprogramming did not fix the problem, there is obviously a larger issue at hand. If anyone else has gotten to this point, please contact me at

- Wareham, MA, USA

problem #1

Mar 152005

Spectra 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 3,400 miles
I have advanced airbags in my car and a light "passenger airbag off " light on the dash that lets me know when the airbag is off. On numerous occassions the light has come on while driving down the highway with a passenger in the passenger seat. The light has on several occassions stayed on for up to 10 minutes. It has been doing it for several months now and I have taken the car to the dealership where I bought it several times and asked them to check it out but it still continues to do it. I'm worried that in the event of an accident that the airbags may not deploy if needed.

- Daphne, AL, USA

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